Local & Regional

Gov. Mary Fallin has named a career prosecutor as the new district attorney for three south-central Oklahoma counties.

Fallin says Paul Smith of Seminole was appointed Friday as district attorney for Seminole, Hughes and Pontotoc counties. He replaces Chris Ross, who retired on Jan. 1, and will serve out the remainder of Ross's term, which expires in January 2019.

NWS-Norman Twitter

Hundreds of the nation's top meteorologists and disaster recovery experts will converge on Oklahoma City next week for the sixth-annual tornado summit, even though much of the discussion is likely to have more to do with temblors, not twisters.

The previous five years, forecasters and first responders assembled in the gut of Tornado Alley to talk about the natural disasters taking place above ground. Below the surface, thousands of earthquakes were rattling the state.

Tulsa Metro Under a Burn Ban

Feb 11, 2017
Governor's Office

Governor Fallin has issued a BURN BAN for 53 counties in Oklahoma because of the extremely dry conditions. The ban includes all of the Tulsa Metro.

"Critical fire weather and worsening drought have created conditions very conducive to wildfires," said Fallin. "A burn ban is now necessary to reduce the risk of preventable wildfires and to protect lives and property.”

The oil and gas industry continued a slow recovery this week, as the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 12 to 741.

Oklahoma, however, is among eight states with no change in their numbers.

A year ago, 541 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 591 rigs sought oil and 149 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Texas increased by seven rigs, New Mexico was up by four rigs, Louisiana and West Virginia each gained two and Pennsylvania was up one.

In a video released by the Norman Police Department, Amelia Molitor said she rejected Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon's advances before Mixon punched her and broke bones in her face.

Mixon punched Molitor at a Norman restaurant in July 2014 and broke her jaw and cheekbone. He was suspended for a year. Mixon entered an Alford plea, acknowledging there was likely enough evidence to convict him of misdemeanor assault while still asserting innocence.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum took his gospel on data-driven policy to the nation’s capital.

As part of a talk about reducing partisanship in local government titled "Why Partisan Rhetoric is for Losers," Bynum retold the story of his Tulsa mayoral election victory over Dewey Bartlett. Bynum said despite being cast as a Democrat in the nonpartisan race while Bartlett sold himself as a Republican’s Republican, he relied on data-driven policy to win by 17 points.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Among the first bills passed by the Oklahoma House are two restoring some of the legislature’s oversight of rules written by state agencies.

Muskogee Republican George Faught said in 2013 the state changed from requiring standalone legislation for new rules to an omnibus process, where all new rules are in a single, lengthy bill. Faught said the Senate hasn’t passed an omnibus resolution since.

naval-technology.com

One of the Navy’s newest ships, the USS Tulsa, will be officially christened tomorrow. Tulsa native and Navy Lt. Travis Nicks and his family will be on hand in Mobile, Alabama for the ceremony. He says the naming of a ship for a person or place is one of the highest honors the Navy can give.

The USS Tulsa is a state-of-the-art Littoral LCS-16 combat ship. Former Mayor Kathy Taylor and her family are sponsors of the ship, and she will get to break a bottle of champagne on the bow, carrying out the official christening.

General News

Feb 10, 2017

Example of coverage on efforts to secure a supermarket for downtown Tulsa. Taken from the 6:30 a.m. newscast on 9-13-16

File photo

 

A former McClain County jail administrator has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of an inmate who died while in custody.

 Online court records show Wayne Barnes pleaded guilty Thursday as part of a plea agreement in which prosecutors will recommend a sentence of to up to 51 months in prison. 

 Barnes faced up to life in prison if convicted. A sentencing date wasn't set.

 

 

The National Weather Service in Tulsa has issued a Red Flag

Warning, which is in effect from 11 AM this morning to 7 PM CST

this evening. The Fire Weather Watch is no longer in effect.

 

* AFFECTED AREA...In Arkansas, Benton, Carroll, Washington,

Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian counties. In

Oklahoma, Pushmataha, Choctaw, Osage, Washington, Nowata,

Craig, Ottawa, Pawnee, Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes, Delaware, Creek,

Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Wagoner, Cherokee, Adair, Muskogee,

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

  Gov. Mary Fallin has named Oklahoma Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick to a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

Fallin named the 35-year-old Wyrick to the state's highest court Thursday. He's the two-term governor's first appointment to the nine-member court and replaces Justice Steven Taylor, who retired from the bench last year.

Tulsa International Airport

 

An airport tower in Tulsa, a waterway rehabilitation in eastern Oklahoma and several highway projects are among nearly $1.3 billion worth of transportation projects that Gov. Mary Fallin has submitted to the Trump administration for consideration as part of a national infrastructure improvement plan.

Fallin's office released a list on Thursday of seven "shovel-ready" projects in Oklahoma that have been submitted to the president's office and the White House National Trade Council from the National Governor's Association.

 

The Cherokee Nation and state of Oklahoma jointly filed and were granted a restraining order today against Sequoyah Fuels Corporation near Gore to stop the company from disposing radioactive waste near the Arkansas and Illinois rivers. The request was granted by Sequoyah County District Judge Jeff Payton.

In the news:

  • A Red Flag Fire Warning is issued for the Tulsa area today.
  • The Shannon Kepler murder retrial resumes with jury selection.
  • Flu deaths double in one week in Oklahoma.

File Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's proposal to add the state's 4.5 percent sales tax to various services currently excluded from the tax would generate an additional $769 million for cities and counties and about $934 million for the state, according to documents obtained by The Oklahoman through the Open Records Act.

The list of items that would be added to the tax rolls include doctor visits, legal fees, funeral services, insurance purchases, cable television, utility bills, child care, nursing home services and homebuilding services.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

River West Festival Park will host roughly a dozen female-led acts at a new music festival May 13.

MisFEST — Mis is short for "Music Is She" — organizers want to empower women and provide a platform for them to succeed in the music industry.

"Whether it's sound engineering, video production ... songwriting, performing, instrumentation — and just to truly have a community of women that support one another, because we're just stronger in collaboration than we are in competition," said Amira Al-Jiboori.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

The retrial of a former Tulsa police officer charged with killing his daughter's boyfriend is back on track after defense claims of mishandled evidence.

At issue is a small plastic bag a property clerk accidentally released to Lisa Kepler along with the rest of Jeremy Lake’s belongings when she claimed her ID a year and a half ago.

File photo

The number of flu deaths in Oklahoma more than doubles in the past week. Of the 12 latest fatalities in the state, five are in Tulsa County. It brings the total statewide this season to 23, with eight total in Tulsa County. That leads the state. Jamie Dukes with the Oklahoma Health Department says it is just now hitting the high point of the flu season, and it’s not too late to get a shot. Health departments across the state still have plenty of the vaccine.

The number of hospitalizations has reached 827 statewide, with 189 in Tulsa County. That also leads the state.

Fire danger into the weekend for Southern High Plains 

Forecasters say the Southern High Plains will have elevated fire danger conditions Friday and Saturday before a cold front approaches and brings higher humidity levels.

Footloose

   

A small Oklahoma town is echoing the story line of '80s movie "Footloose" by canceling a Valentine's Day dance because of an arcane city ordinance enforcing a strict moral code.

The organizer canceled the dance in Henryetta because it would have taken place 300 feet from a church, in violation of an ordinance that forbids dancing within 500 feet of a place of worship.

USDA

 

 Former chicken farmers in five states have filed a federal lawsuit accusing giant poultry processing companies of treating the farmers who raise the chickens like indentured servants and colluding to fix prices paid to them.

The farmers located in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas allege that the contract grower system created by Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, Perdue Farms, Koch Foods, and Sanderson Farms pushed them deep into debt.

They are seeking class action status for the suit filed in federal court in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

KWGS News photo

 

While hundreds of anti-abortion activists descended on the state Capitol for a rally, a Republican-led House committee failed to pass an anti-abortion bill in a move that surprised its chairman.

The Public Health Committee voted 4-4 Wednesday on the bill to prohibit abortions based on the diagnosis of a fetal abnormality in a signal that some GOP lawmakers could be growing weary of anti-abortion bills getting tied up in court. Three Republicans joined a Democrat to vote against the bill.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

 

The second murder trial of a former Tulsa police officer in the shooting death of his daughter's boyfriend is being delayed after the judge said she was "blindsided" that she wasn't told about possible evidence in the case being wrongly released to a witness.

Judge Sharon Holmes halted jury selection Wednesday and ordered both sides to return to court Thursday in the trial of Shannon Kepler, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, the boyfriend of Kepler's daughter, Lisa Kepler.

In the local news:

  • A new program will help provide food to hungry senior citizens.
  • A Tulsa murder trial is placed on hold after evidence goes missing.
  • An abortion bill stalls in a state house committee.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — While hundreds of anti-abortion activists descended on the Oklahoma Capitol for a rally on Wednesday, a GOP-led House committee failed to pass an anti-abortion bill in a move that could signal a shift in priorities for Republican lawmakers in a deep-red state.

File Photo

Oklahoma's head of cyber security told lawmakers Thursday the state is making strides but is in danger of falling behind the bad guys.

Consolidation of Oklahoma's state IT systems means nearly 39,000 state assets are now under real-time monitoring by a dedicated cyber security center. Chief Security Officer Mark Gower said that's saved money and increased security.

Wikipedia

A campaign to replace Tulsa's vanilla flag is going strong.

Engagement is high for the largely social media–based campaign that began in November. Campaign leader Joey Wignarajah said several concepts are proving popular.

State Impact-Oklahoma

 

 Oklahoma state Treasurer Ken Miller says the state's 20-month string of shrinking revenue collections ended last month.

Receipts to the state treasury in January totaled about $990 million, $5.1 million more than January 2016. Miller says the increase was driven largely by increasing oil and natural gas revenue.

Food Bank Expands Senior Outreach

Feb 8, 2017
File photo

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma was recently allotted an expanded caseload for the United States Department of Agriculture’s  Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a senior feeding program which will benefit an additional 150 low-income seniors in eastern Oklahoma.

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